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Google has released an early Christmas present for Android users, with Android 5.0.1 factory images for the Nexus 9, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 last week. Now the Nexus 6 and Nexus 4 smartphones can enjoy those same images.
You can grab the Nexus 6 Android 5.0.1 factory image here, while the Nexus 4 Android 5.0.1 factory image can be obtained here. Android Central has a great guide on manually updating your Nexus device before you use these factory images, something we definitely recommend. It shouldn't be long until Google pushes these updates over-the-air (OTA) but until then, you've got some factory images to play with.
MKV files are finally receiving some desktop support from Microsoft, where Matroska Multimedia Container (MKV) file support is now native under Windows 8.1, meaning you won't need to find a third-party piece of software to play them.
Even though MKV files are mostly associated with high-end pirated copies of TV shows and movies, Microsoft baking native support for the container could see this change. Windows 10 will also have native support for MKV files, as well as FLAC files. The company recently rolled out an update for the Xbox One that provided support for MKV, too. Microsoft is really changing lately, especially with this type of news happening, and it's a good thing.
Apple is seeing a nice adoption rate on its latest version of iOS, with 63% of all iOS users now running iOS 8 according to the latest numbers from Apple's App Store support page for developers.
From last month alone, these numbers have increased by 7%, with installation numbers up 11% since just October 27. iOS 7 usage has dropped 43% in October, down to 33% on December 8. These adoption numbers are based on Apple's App Store usage, which are paired together from analytics service MixPanel.
Microsoft has said that it wants to see its next generation desktop operating system, Windows 10, on "billions of devices". Kevin Turner, the Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft said: "Our goal is to have Windows 10 run across billions of devices" at the Credit Suisse 18th Annual Technology Conference.
He continued: "Being able to tap into that entire ecosystem from Internet-of-Things all the way up, as I said, to the TV, is an important element and an important opportunity for us". With Microsoft designing Windows 10 from the ground up to be run on countless devices, and not just personal computers, Microsoft could truly see Windows 10 on "billions of devices".
Turner wasn't finished, where he added: "The thing that I want to tell you about Windows 10 is that it is very unique from any operating system we have ever built and any operating system that exists today. We have actually taken those four OSes ... and built that single kernel across all of those entities. One experience on every device for everything in your life is the promise that we are delivering on Windows 10. It is going to be a very good opportunity for us to reinvigorate the entire Windows ecosystem around that".
Microsoft is ready to help consumers forget about Windows 8 and 8.1, and is rumored to begin promoting its upcoming Windows 10 operating system starting next January. The company took the wraps off Windows 10 during a relatively low-key event that was hosted in September.
Windows 10 for Business preview was released earlier in the year, as testers continue to provide feedback, Microsoft wanted to wait until later to begin discussing "significant" new features to the successor to Windows 8/8.1.
Even with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happening in early January, Microsoft will host a dedicated a press event in late January to discuss Windows 10. The company previously said consumer features would be unveiled in "early 2015," as the company wants to move ahead with the latest Windows OS.
Google has just updated Google Now, which is now capable of providing a countdown timer to your important event. This might be reminding to brush your teeth, or a doctors appointment, or even your own wedding.
Android Police discovered the new ability of Google Now, with the countdown timers reportedly being part of your reminders. As it stands, these reminders aren't tied to the Calendar right now, so you can't add the doctors appointment into your calendar, and have Google Now remind you of it. Although, you could create a countdown timer separately.
Android Police explains: "Basically, if you have a reminder related to an event Google knows about (like Christmas, for instance), Google will pick up on that and - on your reminder card - serve you a countdown. The functionality doesn't seem to work with things like birthdays yet, so it probably won't work with any personally-connected events, but it does work with events that Google as a service recognizes, like holidays".
Encryption and security was a big part of the push toward Android 5.0 Lollipop, with the first version of Android that enables Full Disk Encryption (FDE) by default on new devices.
AnandTech has now discovered that this forced security actually kills read/write performance on some devices, testing a Nexus 6 with some benchmark numbers to prove it. The benchmarks, below, are using AndEBench, where FDE has a really bad hit on performance. When FDE is enabled on AnandTech's Nexus 6 smartphone, random read performance drops by 62.9%, while random write speeds slump by 50.5%. That's not the worse of it, where sequential read speeds are hit by a huge 80.7% drop in speeds.
FDE is only enabled by default with devices that ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop, so if you're upgrading to Lollipop, FDE isn't enabled by default, thus you're not affected by these slowdowns. When FDE is enabled, all writes to the flash are encrypted before before being saved, and then decrypted when they're being read and sent to RAM. Worse yet, are those who enable FDE with it requiring a key to decrypt, which is protected by a lockscreen password. This means people who opt out of the passcode on the lockscreen, still experience the performance hit on their Lollipop-powered device, without the benefits of FDE's encryption.
It would appear some Google Android 5.0 Lollipop early adopters are having trouble with their update, with Google Nexus 7 tablets running slowly and crashing. Apps built by Adobe Air are being automatically uninstalled and users cannot reinstall the missing apps - Adobe has escalated the problem with Google, trying to find a solution as quickly as possible.
Google has promoted Android 5.0 as a "quantum leap forward" and demand for the mobile OS has accelerated. However, user problems might have other Android supporters rethinking updating their smartphones and tablets until these problems are resolved.
Google Nexus, LG Electronics, NVIDIA and Motorola have rolled out Android Lollipop updates for their mobile devices, but with apps crashing or freezing, it's possible to hear even more user complaints in the near future. If nothing else, Google is likely working quickly to ensure these problems are fixed as more devices are expected to receive the update.
When I reviewed the iPhone 6 Plus, the one thing that held it back was iOS - but, that could be a problem of the past thanks to a Chinese man who has installed Window 98 onto his iPhone 6 Plus. Yes, Windows 98 - not Windows XP, or even Windows 7 or 8 - but Windows 98 - the OS that could handle over 720p at 30FPS close over 15 years ago now.
The modder who installed it goes by the forum alias of 'xyq058775' and installed Microsoft's super-aged Windows 98 onto his brand new iPhone 6 Plus. He posted a bunch of pictures with some descriptions, detailing his process of installing and getting the OS running on his iPhone. The desktop OS can't run .exe files, but it can alter and change the input methods of Windows 98, which allows you to navigate through the OS.
He was even able to run Internet Explorer, on an iPhone no less. Ugh.
September 2014 has come and gone, with Google securing more of that coveted mobile OS market share pie. Android continues to lead, according to ComScore's latest data, with 52.1% of the mobile OS market, leaving iOS with 41.7% and Windows Phone with 3.6%.
When it comes to the OEM market share, Apple actually lead the pack with 41.7%, while Android is the leading platform spread across multiple partners in Samsung, LG, Motorola and HTC. Not only that, but ComScore is looking at what users are running on their phones, with Google and Facebook owning most of the top-used applications.
Facebook and its own app leads the pack, with YouTube coming in second, Google Play in third, and Google Play in fourth place. Pandora takes fifth place, Facebook returns for sixth place with Messenger, and then Google makes a return for seventh and eighth place with Maps and Gmail, respectively.